Friday, February 27, 2009

Un-Ugly: The Tropicana Rewind

So, by now you might have heard, or maybe you haven't. Or maybe you didn't know about it in the fist place. If so, here's a little background.

Back in January, Tropicana unveiled its new packaging design to go along with parent company PepsiCo's total image overhaul. The change was met with varied opinion. Some thought the change was a fresh, new approach to a tired field of design, others though the switch was unjustified and the design ugly. I fell into the latter of the two categories. I still find it hard to understand the logic behind PepsiCo's new look but that is another rant for another time.

In the month's time since the unveiling, Tropicana has received a slew of letters from concerned customers, criticizing the new packaging. On February 23, Tropicana announced that it was halting production of the newly designed cartons, reverting back to the old design. In an interview with the New York Times, Neil Campbell, president of Tropicana North America claimed "It was not the volume of the outcries that led to the corporate change of was a fraction of a percent of the people who buy the product." Instead, Campbell insists that the fact that that "fraction" was made up of their most loyal customers that caused Tropicana to rethink the switch.

First of all, are there really "loyal customers" for orange juice. I picture orange juice fanboys with T-Shirts. I suppose saying "Oh, not everyone complained about our terrible packaging, just our favorite customers" is their twisted way of downplaying the fact that Tropicana scewed the pooch. It would have been "refreshing" to actually hear some acknowlagement of the mistake but few corporate execs have the guts for that.

Personally, I'm glad that they've decided to switch back. I never had any issue with the iconic straw-in-orange design and I felt that the typography and color pallet of the old design was rich, classy and fitting. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of minimalism but sometimes it can be taken too far and Tropicana's is clearly a case that did just that.


  1. yes exactly. I never had a problem with their packaging in the first place... Their type is fine, not my first choice but not offensive and the straw through the orange is what we've always thought of as "Tropicana" I'll be excited to see when it reemerges in grocers.

  2. That minimalistic design was just too generic. I actually took a picture of the carton next to a generic brand and the generic brand caught my eye more than the "rebrand" they had going.

    In fact when I first saw the "rebrand" I didn't even recognize it and I was having the hardest time trying to find it at the store.

    Really they should never get rid of the straw in orange because it tells a story. The story says, "Our juice is so fresh you mine as well just put a straw in the freakin' orange." You really can't get any better than that. Such a simple concept to communicate the brand position. Straw in orange... enough said.